Wieters comes up clutch with walk-off hit

After overcoming elbow soreness this spring, catcher delivers on Opening Day

Wieters comes up clutch with walk-off hit

BALTIMORE -- When Matt Wieters exited a game in mid-March with right elbow soreness, there was immediate concern about whether the backstop -- who had missed nearly all of the 2014 season with Tommy John surgery -- would be ready come Opening Day.

Wieters, who petitioned manager Buck Showalter to play in a regular spring game instead of a 'B' game, wanted to ensure he was fully ready and at game speed before suiting up for real behind the plate. That work paid off in his final at-bat on Monday, when he laced a first-pitch single into center field to seal the Orioles' 3-2 walk-off win over the Twins.

Wieters' walk-off single

"It was a nice win," Wieters said of the twice-rain-delayed contest. "You want to win the first one especially, but to be able to sit around here as much as we did today, it's a lot better feeling going home with a win."

Wieters had several long at-bats prior to his ninth-inning showdown against Twins reliever Kevin Jepsen, but he came up empty each time. The fact that he was able to redeem himself, and give the Orioles a win, ensured a fairly peaceful night.

"It was nice to get an opportunity there because you're thinking about [the earlier at-bats] a little bit, not during the game, but after the game," Wieters said. "I was glad to be able to get another chance and drive in a run."

And he was greeted in true Orioles style as center fielder Adam Jones came running out of the home dugout with his customary pie -- or was it? -- in Wieters' face during a walk-off interview.

"It was a cake. You know, I've lost control of the team again," Showalter joked when asked if the previously banned pies were back for this season. "Pick the battles worth winning, right? It had some kind of orange look to it. It looked very cakey to me."

Jones, who said only that he "pleaded the fifth" when asked about the future of the pies, did give Wieters a little heads up that it was coming.

"I don't know if it was him rebelling or one last shell, but we will see," Wieters said of the pies, which the team announced this spring wouldn't be allowed due to safety reasons. "He's got to keep everybody on their toes.

"I didn't have any complaints about it."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.